Thursday, May 25, 2006

Now there's a Line of Beauty...

... It's entirely comprehensible why Nick Guest's boogeying on down with the ex-PM Mrs Thatcher has been flagged up as a highlight of the series by numerous journos. It IS the only highlight of the series, except perhaps for the welly-wanging. Question - was that supposed to be humorous? The plot moved with the speed of a toked sloth. It had all the drama, suspense and nail-biting excitement of Gardener's World. The Line MUST have won the Booker prize for its writing style; the plot is about as twisted as a straight line (not an ogee) and it shed all the illumination on the 1980s of a liquorise torch in a sewer. The only plot twist was that Leo had AIDs which we knew last week because his boyfriend coughed. And everyone knows that all AIDs victims cough - otherwise, it might have spread silently and you might have actually needed to take a test to be diagnosed. I suppose they could have gone the whole hog; I recommend huge, pustulous, yellow boils... and drooling. Or perhaps Cybermen.

The rest of the program undulated slowly through ugly old Conservatives standing about and young gay Conservatives who could moonlight as male models f****g. All gay blokes in The Line are gorgeous, sophisticated, thick-haired specimens. Except if they're working class - in which case... they are squat and cough. Oh, and everyone snorts coke... all the time. As raw screen time out of 60 minutes - 15 minutes was young men in speedos, 10 minutes was close-ups of rolled paper shoved in noses or people cutting up coke with credit cards, 5 minutes consisted of coked-out but desperately elegant, perspiring blokes humping each other and the remaining 30 minutes was elderly homophobes with white hairs protruding from their ears saying how great Maggie was. Feel you've missed anything? I could entirely understand why the lead characters wanted to be out of their head all the time. I wouldn't be able to get through one of those dinner parties without 'accidently' switching the classical music for Bob the Builder, 'casually' starting a conversation about obscure and gross-out medical conditions or just saying "SETTEE" really loudly.

The one saving grace was Wani Ouradi, one of the first actors on a TV program that when a character described them as "the most beautiful young man I've ever seen", I could whole-heartedly agree with him. Well, perhaps not *the* most beautiful young man - my BF might get offended but he was flipping hot. This made Martine an intensely sympathetic character despite her not appearing much, I could feel her frustration - just fancy being engaged to *that* and not being able to get a decent firm, enthusiastic shag. But I could only stare mesmerised at Wani's elegance and poise for so long and after 40 minutes, Nick Guest's lurch towards Maggie T. was the grasp of a dying drama for air. I was cheering him on, boinging up and down in my seat. At last, someone would move fast. Someone would do something but grab each others dicks, snort coke, pose in lycra or make droning chit-chat... or wang wellies! Someone would actually dance! Wheee! Subversive!

I'll watch the remaining 1/3rd but I'm not expecting any major shocks.


  • At 10:46 pm , Anonymous Will said...

    I agree with those criticisms and have made similar points in a review on my blog. I didn't get the welly wanging at all - was it supposed to be an indication that Gerald Fedden had hidden depths? Or will the local yobs be coming to wreak their revenge in part three?

  • At 12:04 am , Anonymous Paul said...

    Excellent and amusing critique, FdR. I agree with the comment about the local yobs - we haven't seen the last of them. I think we're in for some homophobic roughing up next week.

  • At 6:18 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    I read your post Will before I posted since I'd videoed LofB and watched it the next day so, although I wasn't explicitly echoing your views, I have no doubt that I was subliminally affected ;) :D

    Yobs - yes, definitely. Although it's not clear whether they're going to beat him up because he's gay (although that would fit better with the plot) or just because he's got a flashy car and looks like a stereotyped Tory (which would fit with the 'class conflict in Thatcher's Britain theme').

  • At 11:35 pm , Blogger Paul Linford said...

    That was class. You really should be writing for a national, you know.

  • At 9:36 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    Thanks! :D If that wasn't ironic (no confidence - I'm not noted for my literary skills) then since you've got journalistic experience, I couldn't ask for a greater compliment :)

  • At 6:32 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Personally I'm glad you don't review for a national newspaper. I hate this kind of facile flip writing. I agree that the adaption had its faults (including the coughing bit), but the measured pacing was superbly judged, and it resonated powerfully for me because I mingled with similar, albeit richer families, when I was young, and the dislocated affections were exactly the same. (As was the coke blizzard at parties in the late 80s.)

  • At 2:42 pm , Blogger skipper said...

    Whilst I greatly enjoyed the review I agree with the anonymous last comment. The Line of Beauty was a beautifully written book and this marvellous television adaptation was well up to its standard.
    PS Anyone who lives in the countryside will be familiar with varints on the 'welly wanging' competition. My favourite was a cricket ball throwing contest organised each year by a guy who had once played for a county team; each year he smirkingly made the barrel of beer his own.


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